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Actor Ian Somerhalder was in Washington, DC last week to testify before Congress on HR50, the Multinational Species Conservation Funds Reauthorization Act.

“The legislation initially enacted in 1990 is viewed globally as a success story,” said Somerhalder during his five-minute speech. “With the US leading the effort, governments around the world are able to begin investing in their ecosystems. From the Congo to Southern Sudan, we’re finding that species conservation is paying off in terms of both the environment and local government action.”

Somerhalder is convinced that people are ready and willing to do whatever is necessary for species protection. Besides Asian and African elephants, apes, tigers and rhinos that Somerhalder addressed in his written testimony, his spoken testimony focused on why marine turtles need this act to be reauthorized:

“There is a specific chain of events that occur when these turtle populations drop. The loss of these turtle populations leads to an explosion of jellyfish populations, which can kill lower level food chain fish, which in turn have an impact on tuna and swordfish, which are big contributors to the human population. We have already seen this increase in our beaches, and it could have drastic fisheries implications.”

His own IS Foundation also focuses on species protection, as well as habitat conservation and green energy initiatives. IS works with established initiatives and with grass roots levels to provide the resources needed to transform conversations into projects.

“My Foundation is in 190 countries at this point, with a lot of global outreach, and I just want you to know that the ideology is backed by passion and commitment,” Somerhalder said to Congress. “I want to ask that the subcommittee move quickly to mark up the HR50 and reauthorize this very important piece of legislation.”

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